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Public Statements

Welcoming the President of South Korea

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, later today, Senators will have the opportunity to hear from South Korean President Lee, and I know we all look forward to it.

South Korea is a stalwart ally that enjoys a flourishing economy. It is a shining example of how embracing democracy and free market principles can transform a society for the good.

Imagine, in 50 years, they went from a civil war to a military dictatorship to an evolving democracy and on the economic side to a thriving capitalist country that has the 13th largest economy in the world--from a country that was a recipient of foreign aid and Peace Corps volunteers to a country with its own foreign aid program and its own peace corps--all of that in 50 years, right on the same peninsula with one of the last Stalinist regimes in the world. It is a great success story that the United States has had an awful lot to do with promoting.

The South Korean Free Trade Agreement we passed overwhelmingly last night on a bipartisan basis will only make our two economies stronger. Our already strong alliance will be even stronger.

These agreements should serve as an example of the kind of bipartisan legislation Congress should be focused on right now.

Many of us have been amazed to witness, as I indicated earlier, the rapid growth and evolution of South Korea--truly a remarkable accomplishment.

So we welcome this great friend of the United States to our shores. We hope he and his wife have a memorable trip.

As we face together the threat of North Korea and the rapid changes occurring in the strategic balance in Northeast Asia, we look forward to an even stronger alliance with South Korea in the years to come.

I yield the floor.

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